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Match Report: Melbourne Heart 1 - 2 Perth Glory

Monday 16th January 2012
Melbourne Heart continued their recent slump in form on Sunday afternoon, as they went down 2-1 to Perth Glory at AAMI Park.

Shane Smeltz and Steven McGarry did the damage for the Glory, with Kristian Sarkies bagging his second goal in as many games for the home team.

Perth are now up to fifth on A-League ladder after an unbeaten run of four games, and in truth should have sown up the 3 points well before they did. Heart are now winless in three matches, and are in danger of slipping into the already crowded mid-table section.

The game started slowly with both teams taking their time before any real opportunity presented itself. Rutger Worm and Sarkies both had shots, but neither ever really threatened Danny Vukovic's goal.

Perth's first real attack resulted in the opening goal, Liam Miller pushed the ball forward to Smeltz and the Kiwi international's quick reactions allowed him to put a deflected shot past Clint Bolton. Smeltz then sprinted over to the small pocket of traveling Perth fans to celebrate.

The goal seemed to spark Glory into life, as they dominated play for the majority of the first half. Smeltz almost added to his tally with a shot that whisked over the bar, and Travis Dodd came within centimeters of sliding an angled shot into the back of the net.

Heart finished the half the stronger of the two teams, and will feel unlucky to have had a penalty appeal turned down after an apparent handball by Bas van den Brink. The decision was not appreciated by the Heart fans, and they voiced their outrage loudly. Brendan Hamill then sent the follow up shot over the crossbar.

Right before half-time, Heart were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. Sarkies stepped up and sent his curling shot inches over the bar in what was Heart's best opportunity of the half.

The teams came out unchanged after the break, and again Perth looked the dominant side early. Heart, minus their injured playmaker Fred, seemed to lack ideas and creativity as they struggled to make an impact.

That all changed in the 65th minute when Eli Babalj was brought down in the box by Jacob Burns. Heart's stand-in captain Matt Thompson stepped up to take the penalty but his effort was saved by Vukovic who could only palm the ball away. Sarkies was the quickest to reach the ball, and he made sure he put his shot past the still prone Vukovic to make it 1-1.

However Melbourne's relief only lasted two minutes, as Clint Bolton (who has just moved up to the number two position for national league appearances) made a terrible blunder after a long range effort from Mile Sterjovski. Bolton's fumble landed at the feet of Steven McGarry who couldn't miss.

Melbourne Heart coach John van't Schip turned to his bench to try and salvage the match. The introduction of Maycon and Alex Terra provided a minor catalyst for Heart, who then proceeded to pepper Perth's goal with a number of shots. Maycon came the closest, the Brazilian hitting the post from a set piece. Mate Dugandzic, who had a quite game compared to his usual standards, then sent a venomous swerving free kick just wide of goal.

However Heart could not hit the target, and Perth eventually ground out a win.

Glory now face Sydney FC in Campbelltown on Wednesday, whilst Heart must now face league leaders Central Coast Mariners at home on Wednesday, and then back that up by playing a reinvigorated Brisbane Roar on Saturday.
Paddy Naughtin

Total articles: 8

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